The Pierce College soccer team was unable to avoid a gridlock in a must win game at home on Friday, Nov. 7 against Ventura College.
The Brahmas and the Pirates missed several goal opportunities which resulted in a 0-0 tie.
Ventura took control of both the field and the ball in the first half of the game and started the game with two scoring opportunities.
The Brahmas started off with less intensity than the Pirates, which caused the team to spread out and leave more opportunities for goal shots. The team was unable to gain momentum for a goal attempt of its own.
“That’s one of the top ten teams in the league,” said head coach Adolfo Perez. “We missed opportunities to score goals.”
This game was one of the most important games of the season, as it would place the teams’ either second or third on the leaderboard.
Pierce bounced back with its first goal opportunity led by freshman midfielder Marissa Albano giving the team the fuel it needed to take control of the ball.
Pierce then shifted from being stuck in the back to moving forward on the field as goalkeeper-turned-field-player Taylor Bailey rushed onto the field.
“She trained as a goalie but is now playing on the field,” Perez said. “She’s the story of the year.”
Bailey was able to surpass the Pirates energy within seconds, using her physicality and swift movements to put the Brahmas in control of the ball.
Forward and leading goal scorer Paige Wolny matched the energy introduced by Bailey with a second goal attempt that made Ventura lose its edge.
This caused an onslaught of fouls and pushing that shifted the mood of the field.
The crowd along with the coach became upset with the referees as they failed to call fouls against the Brahmas.
Freshman forward Eliza Midkiff was pushed and fouled several times throughout the first half until the referee finally called one giving her a free kick.
“We all played really hard, and the refs were just not on our side,” Midkiff said. “They took the game away from us.”
The Brahmas managed to shake off not only fouls in this game but injuries from recent games as well.
Freshman defender Desiree Raygoza had suffered a head injury from the Brahmas’ last game against Hancock.
This drive to push through such injuries led Pierce to end the first half of the game with a second goal shot. Although it was a missed shot the Brahmas gained momentum that was absent in the first few minutes of the game.
“I think we gave it everything it just sometimes doesn’t go your way,” Raygoza said. “We played our hearts out and I’m very proud of my team.”
After the first half of the game both teams came back with double the amount of energy. This led to sophomore forward Kiana Riles getting injured. Riles seemed to be limping and Perez could be heard telling her to drop on the field for her safety.
After substituting Riles out, Raygoza earned a free kick from a foul that became a huge opportunity for a Brahma goal.
Wolny matched this energy by taking a second shot soon after, but shot too hard.
Although both goal attempts were missed opportunities, sighs of relief were heard from the coaches since the Brahmas landed their first corner kick of the match.
“We need to not give up after the plays we lose,” Bailey said. “It’s all about going back and retrieving the ball.”
The last part of the game was met with roughness and intensity from both the Pirates and the Brahmas, as both were evenly matched in goal attempts.
The first yellow card of the match was issued to Ventura sophomore and defender Kylie Keyser, after side-tackling Wolny.
The game concluded with intense goal shots from both sides, as both Wolny and Raygoza stepped up to provide more opportunities to score.
“Either way, we showed them that we wanted it,” Bailey said.
You can catch the Brahmas play at home as they take on the Cuesta Cougars in the penultimate game of the Northern Division Conference on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m.